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I thought rereading some old favorites might snap me out of my funk. Whenever I reread Trixie Belden, I start with "Mystery off Glen Road". It's my favorite. I love how it was basically just a series of misunderstandings that caused the mystery, it's much more realistic than most of the others, where they're catching bank robbers and the like. The Wheeler's gamekeeper quits the Bob Whites volunteer to do his job until a replacement can be found. The boys are working on repairing the clubhouse roof so Honey and Trixie have to do the majority of the patrolling and they find evidence of a poacher! It's so funny.

I already read Glen Road, so I thought I'd pick one that I don't normally reread, and got "The Mystery of the Velvet Gown". I was surprised I remembered how it ended. The kids' drama teacher, Miss Darcy, is acting very suspicious. Of course it could be because her father is missing. Trixie soon discovers she's in the midst of a gem smuggling conspiracy!

I remembered this one, too. The kids' school is vandalized by someone styling themselves as the Midnight Marauder (side note: I learned so many new words from reading these books, I used to write down the ones I didn't know and look them up in the dictionary. Thanks, Mart!). The police suspect Mart, since he's been seen at school after hours and has been acting awfully suspicious lately. Turns out Mart has a lot on his mind: he's the school paper's new star columnist, Miss Lonelyheart! Mart's been getting dozens of letters from kids begging for advice, and he's in over his head. He's sure one of his letter writers is the Midnight Marauder, they just don't know which one.

I did manage to get through this collection of letters written by Laura Ingalls Wilder, despite my book funk. I grew up reading the "Little House" books, loved them, reread them all the time. I enjoyed reading the letters she wrote, mostly to her daughter, Rose, but some of them were to fans who wrote to her. Much like Margaret Mitchell, she felt the need to respond to her fans with kind words.

I really enjoyed David Kushner's memoir "Alligator Candy". In 1973, his older brother Jon was abducted and murdered by two low life scumbags, forever changing David's family. His parents sound like they were brave and amazingly strong people. The community rallied for the 8 days that Jon was missing, trying to find him. This was in the days before the FBI got involved in such matters and police and other law enforcement agencies didn't have the resources they do now. It was heartbreaking, I cried during a lot of it, but very well written.

I know absolutely nothing about the world of fine art, so I had no idea how prevalent forgeries and fakes are, nor did I have any idea about how hard it is to track down and catch the perpetrators. And, shockingly, what lenient sentences those types of crime usually get! It was really interesting, very fascinating all the way around, and luckily he wrote it in such a way that even someone like me, with zero art background, could still understand and appreciate.

This is going to be a long post. I apologize in advance.
On Friday, April 8, 1994, I was sitting at home, listening to a talk radio program. I had the TV on, waiting for "All My Children", one of my favorite soap operas. The TV was muted, so I could hear my radio show. I don't know why I did that, but I used to do it all the time, watch TV with the sound off while listening to the radio. I was a weird kid, what can I say.
A teaser came on for the news, it was a house in a grey, drizzly area, and they showed a stretcher with a white sheet covering a body. My first thought was: "Oh my God, that's Kurt Cobain!"
My second thought was: "Who the hell is Kurt Cobain?"

I'm reluctant to share this, because honestly, it makes me sound and feel crazy. I'm truly not, I promise. I have a good career, I'm a stable member of the community. Nothing like this had ever happened to me before, and nothing like this has happened to me since.

I know in this high information age, it seems absurd that you could *not* know about someone so famous in pop culture at the time, but I really didn't. In 1994, I was a teenager into classic rock, I'd just discovered the Beatles, and spent my time listening to the oldies stations on the radio. We didn't have cable, so I didn't have MTV (and this was back when MTV actually played music videos, this is how old I am). I didn't go to school, so I didn't have friends to discuss music with.
I had bought a People magazine the month before, when John Candy died, and there was a short article about Kurt Cobain's overdose in Rome. I skimmed through it, thought "what an idiot", and that was it. My friend Rachel had sent me a mix tape (again, dating myself) a few months earlier with "Smells Like Teen Spirit" and "Territorial Pissings" on it. I didn't think much of the second song, but I liked the first one, I starred the album "Nevermind" in my Columbia House Records catalog, to remind myself to order once I had some money.
And that was the full and complete extent of my knowledge of Kurt Cobain and Nirvana on April 8, 1994. I seriously couldn't have picked the man out of a lineup. So it was the strangest feeling, just *knowing* that body on the TV was his.
As it turned out, I was right. I quickly unmuted the TV and turned the radio down, just in time to hear the broadcaster say he was dead from a self inflicted gunshot wound to the head. And I just started shaking my head. No. I might have even said it out loud, alone in my room. No. There was just no way he killed himself. And again, I wondered how I could know this with such certainty, and furthermore why I even cared.
I spent a long time trying to shake it, trying not to care, but to no avail. From that moment on, I was hooked. I read everything I could find about the circumstances surrounding his death, and the more I read the more I questioned the official story. There were just so many weird things going on. Nothing made sense, it didn't add up.
I don't remember when I first heard the name Tom Grant. I still have the "Unsolved Mysteries" on VHS that aired back in 1997, where he discussed the inconsistencies in the case and called for it to be re-investigated. He was a godsend to me, since I'd spent three years telling everyone and anyone that I felt very strongly that Kurt Cobain had been murdered. Most people, naturally, thought I was nuts. Here was someone, an intelligent man, who believed the same way I did, and I was so grateful.
I followed Tom Grant's website, once it went up and I actually got a computer for the first time (1999, I think). I read Ian Halperin and Max Wallace's two books: "Who Killed Kurt Cobain?" and "Love & Death" (excellent by the way). I finally brought myself to watch "Soaked in Bleach" a few weeks ago, the amazing Benjamin Statler documentary about the case that Tom Grant consulted on. I knew it would be hard to watch, and it was, but I'm glad I did it. He did an amazing job bringing the facts to light.
So after 22 years I'm seeing people discuss the case, discuss what happened, having the same questions I've had since 1994. And I can't even begin to tell you how good it makes me feel. It was a very lonely feeling, shouting to the world how I felt and being looked at like I was a moron.
Tom Grant collaborated with Matthew Richter to put out this book "The Mysterious Death of Kurt Cobain". It was all preaching to the choir for me, obviously, since most of it I already knew. But there was some good new information in there that I hadn't been aware of, mostly of how badly the Seattle PD bungled the investigation from the start. If anyone can read this book and honestly still believe that they truly did thoroughly investigate this man's death, then they are the crazy ones, not me. Maybe you think I'm crazy. That's fine. Read it and prove me wrong.
Every year I pray this will be THE year, the year the truth finally comes out. I hate getting my hopes up, but now with the word being spread, more and more people questioning, maybe someday we'll finally know what really happened to Kurt Cobain. It won't bring him back, but it will restore my faith in the universe.

Well, this book slump is getting worse. Books I put on hold ages ago and was looking forward to I'm not even reading, I just can't get into them. I saw this Erle Stanley Gardner at the bookstore and bought it, knowing it wasn't one I owned. I love the Perry Mason books, and I needed something to read on the plane, which I did. I'm sure I've probably read it before, since I read as many as I could get my hands on back when I was younger, but if I have read it it's been at least 15 years, so I didn't remember it, and honestly it didn't thrill me. I don't know if it was overly complicated or if I'm just *that* down about books right now. A young woman comes into Mason's office carrying a canary in a cage. Rita explains that her sister, Rosalind, is in the middle of a messy divorce and she's trying to help her. Rita was at her sister's house, trimming the canary's nails, when her boyfriend Jimmy came by to see her. While they were embracing, there was a car accident out front of the house and Jimmy ran out to help. The police officers took his name and address, and now Rita is worried Rosalind's husband will try to make out like Jimmy was there to see Rosalind and not her. Then the husband, Walter, turns up dead. That's when things got *really* complicated.

I was really looking forward to Dean Koontz's latest, since his last few have been pretty decent. Right off the bat, this one rubbed me the wrong way. Bibi Blair is a young (22) woman, a published author with a bright future ahead of her. She is very wise and mature beyond her years, and I know there are definitely people out there like that (I was accused of being one for many years when I was around her age. I believed it then, but I doubt it now. Looking back, I didn't know *anything*. But I digress...) but if he'd only aged her a bit it would have been less ridiculous. Bibi is diagnosed with inoperable, incurable brain cancer and given a year to live. The night after her diagnosis, she is visited by a strange man and a golden retriever, and when she wakes up in the morning she has been miraculously cured. She is told by a diviner her parents hired (because of course Bibi doesn't believe in that sort of thing) that her life was spared to save another: Ashley Bell. Bibi goes on a quest to discover where Ashley is and why her life is so important. She's being followed by an evil man with a seemingly endless supply of resources, who wants Ashley dead and will kill Bibi to make sure it happens. I finished it, but I didn't like it. Normally his preaching doesn't get to me, since I agree with 99% of his sentiments, but for some reason coming out of the mouth of a barely out of her teens girl made me irritated. I don't know, I guess I'm turning into a cranky old lady :)

I'm in a bit of a book slump right now. It happens every so often. I start books but can't finish them, ones I was looking forward to aren't holding my interest, etc. So I pulled the third book of Sue Ann Jaffarian's Odelia Grey series off the shelf and read it, knowing it would be fun and quick and hopefully snap me out of my apathy. It didn't really work, but it was a good story: Odelia's odious boss, Mike Steele, has gone missing, which is totally not like him at all. Odelia attends her thirtieth high school reunion with reservations, and her old nemesis is murdered. She's not a suspect, since she was dancing with her date, NBPD detective Dev at the time, but one of her friends is, and Odelia promises to help her clear her name. Her law firm has also asked her to help find Steele, so Odelia has a full plate.

After watching the Colin Firth version of Pride and Prejudice a few weeks ago, I found out from a coworker that I had to read this book, so I did. It was cute. Jane's a thirty something girl in New York, a string of failed relationships and attempts behind her. She's somewhat obsessed with Mr. Darcy (or, more precisely, Colin Firth) and when her great aunt Carolyn dies, she leaves Jane a mystery trip to Pembroke Park. There's no information about it online, so Jane goes, curious as to what it's all about. It's an estate for wealthy clients who pay to spend three weeks pretending they live in the Regency era of P&P, complete with actors who woo them. There's the Mr. Darcy type, the Mr. Bingley type, etc. While at Pembroke Park they must stay in character the whole time, and Jane finds it difficult to determine where fiction ends and facts begin when she starts a romance with a good looking gardener. It had a very sappy, sweet ending, but other than that it was funny.

I really enjoyed Nicola Yoon's "Everything, Everything". I'm a sucker for a YA book with a happy ending, I halfway wasn't expecting it, although I did guess the main twist ahead of time. It was nice to be right!
Maddy has a very compromised immune system and hasn't left her hermetically sealed house since she was a tiny baby. She doesn't remember what it was like to be outside. She only knows the world through all the books she reads. Then one day a new family moves in next door, with a teenage boy named Olly. They start emailing and instant messaging, and Maddy is desperate to meet him. Her nurse Carla finally arranges it and before Maddy and Olly can help themselves, they've fallen for each other. Hard. Maddy soon grows frustrated with her restrictive life. It was really sweet and I liked both Maddy and Olly very much.

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